A terrific way to entertain friends for Sunday brunch without doing much cooking is to pick up a few boxes of dim sum from a good Cantonese restaurant or from one of the growing number of dim sum take-out shops that are popping up. The Chinese tidbits that might include shrimp-filled har-gau dumplings, shiu mai dumplings filled with pork and shrimp, steamed buns stuffed with barbecued pork, fried pot stickers and delicate scallop dumplings look great on your favorite platter and taste terrific. We especially like the selection at Empress Pavilion's take-out shop near the restaurant on the second floor of Bamboo Plaza in Chinatown. Dim sum are traditionally eaten from breakfast through lunch, so for the best selection, shop early. The shop opens at 9 a.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. on weekends. The assortment varies and includes sweets, such as egg custard tarts and steamed Chinese-style sponge cake.
$1.95 to $4 per dim sum order (each order contains three or four pieces). Empress Pavilion take-out shop, 988 N. Hill St. (second floor), Los Angeles. (213) 617-9898.